Selecting an Attorney
Choosing an attorney for estate planning purposes is important because you will work closely with this person on critical and sensitive matters. It is vital that you choose a qualified lawyer whom you trust and respect. Generally, this should be someone who is experienced in:
- Tax law
- Family law
- Estate administration
Do not seek help from a lawyer who has not been recommended to you. Ask friends and relatives whom they have hired to help with estate affairs.
You can also contact a legal professional association or the American College of Trust and Estate to find the best attorneys in your area.
The Law Directory, which can be found in most libraries, discloses peer ratings of hundreds of attorneys.
After you have compiled a list of recommended attorneys, set up initial consultations with each of them. During these meetings, which are usually free of charge, you should:
- Figure out whether or not the attorney is someone with whom you will feel comfortable working.
- Ask them for a written estimate of the total costs. Some attorneys charge per hour, while others charge a percentage of the estate assets.
- Choose carefully based on your personal opinion of the attorney and the fee structure.